Summits focus on youth development, digital learning
It was a busy start to the summer as the College of Health, Education and Human Development (HEHD) and Eugene T. Moore School of Education held two summits in May focused on issues critical to youth and children.
The college-sponsored Summit for Youth Success was held May 12-13, drawing education, government and nonprofit officials to establish priorities related to building youth-friendly communities in South Carolina. On May 16-17, teachers and school administrators from across the state joined Eugene T. Moore School of Education professors and national experts for the 2014 Playful Learning Summit, which focused on how to integrate games and new media into teaching.
Summit for Youth Success attendees organized into focus groups on health, parenting, early childhood development, out-of-school opportunities, and school environment, and the suggestions from these groups were used to develop broad themes that will be used to create an agenda for youth success in South Carolina.
The agenda will be used as a platform for building youth coalitions across the state, beginning with a pilot site in Greenwood, said Kellye Rembert, special projects coordinator for the College of HEHD. The pilot program will be led by Greenwood residents and facilitated by Rembert and Stanley Green, extension associate with Clemson’s Institute for Economic and Community Development.
“We intend to create an agenda for youth success in the state and carry that agenda forward in local communities, regional organizations and, ultimately, the statewide system,” said College of HEHD Dean Larry Allen, a longtime youth development advocate.
Speakers for the Summit for Youth Success included Allen as well as Daniel Cardinali, president of Communities in Schools, a nationwide dropout-prevention organization, and Hayward Jean, principal of Mellenchamp Elementary School in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and inaugural class member of the acclaimed Call Me MISTER program.
Playful Learning Summit attendees heard from Constance Steinkuehler, a former senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy who serves as associate professor in digital media with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Lucas Gillispie, an avid gamer and founder of the WoWinSchool Project, which explores the educational potential of online games.
Educators from Greenville County schools and the Richland, Lexington, Spartanburg, Fort Mill, Union, Beaufort, Anderson, Dorchester and Barnwell school districts attended the event, which also included interactive workshops and hands-on learning experiences with software programs.
“Educators can parallel what the military, health-care, business and other industries already have discovered about how games teach,” said Dani Herro, a summit organizer and assistant professor of digital media and learning at Clemson. “It’s exciting to know so many teachers want to learn how to incorporate technologies into learning experiences for their students.”
Along with Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education and Digital Media and Learning Labs, the summit was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Learning Games Network and the National Science Foundation.